John McCauley likes us. Less than a year after Deer Tick's last appearance in Norfolk, McCauley and company return to Infinity Hall on Wednesday, March 5, with "Negativity," their latest album, still in our ears. In a relatively short period of time, McCauley beat back his addictions and personal demons, married girlfriend Vanessa Carlton (Stevie Nicks presided over the ceremony) and released his strongest album to date; later this year his band co-headlines a tour with the Hold Steady. We asked McCauley about the upcoming tour, getting hitched and what records he's listening to these days.
CTNow: Deer Tick is hitting the road with the Hold Steady in April. How did that come about?
John McCauley: We played together a bunch of years ago and since then Craig and I have become pretty good friends. I think we share a lot of the same fan base. I actually wasn't aware that the tour was being booked and when I saw that we were touring with Hold Steady I thought, "That's pretty obvious, and awesome."
CTNow: What's the common ground between the two bands, musically or on a personal level? Will there be some collective jamming?
JM: Craig's hopped on stage with us to do some Replacements covers before. Craig's from Minneapolis and a huge [Replacements] fan. We're not from Minneapolis but we share the same fanaticism.
CTNow: You recently married Vanessa Carlton. What's the biggest change from single to married life so far?
JM: It's been so nice and so calm. It's so much easier to relax now knowing that I made such a good decision. We have so much more in common than I think most people could imagine. That became very clear when we merged our record collections together.
CTNow: Do you remember the first record you ever bought? Where did you buy it, and do you still listen?
JM: It was either the "La Bamba" soundtrack or "Mystery Girl" by Roy Orbison. They likely came from Luke's Record Exchange, which was in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. My Aunt Dora would take me there on the weekends when I was super young. I still listen to both albums, though I've lost track of where those original copies are.
CTNow: What are you listening to these days?
JM: Marc Maron's WTF show is a new favorite thing for me to listen to in the car. I take a bath every morning and usually spin NRBQ "At Yankee Stadium" or "Pleased to Meet Me" by the Replacements. When I work out I put all my Replacements, NRBQ and George Jones on shuffle. Late at night I listen to jazz radio. During the day if I'm in the mood to listen to music I'll put on something like John Fahey or Jackson C. Frank. "The Downward Spiral" by NIN on 180g vinyl reissue has been fun. Nothing new, if that's what you were asking.
CTNow: Vinyl or digital?
JM: I probably have more digital music than vinyl, but I prefer the vinyl format. You can find a lot of weird, old forgotten music when shopping for vinyl. You don't get that when shopping for digital music: you mostly just find shitty music.
DEER TICK plays on Wednesday, March 5 at 8 p.m. at Infinity Music Hall & Bistro in Norfolk. Tickets are $29-$44. Information: infinityhall.com